Review: Engrave

“The Rebirth Remasters”
(World War III)

The reissue of this band’s 1998 MCD, then on the SOD label, has been brought back to life like a time capsule from an earlier era of thrash/death metal. Heavy with Slayer, Sepultura, Metallica, Morbid Angel influences, there is little work here that pushes the boundaries of the known. While still highly enjoyable, if not a touch predictable, there is a lot of good and tight death metal here.  Those that demand a unique and spectacular band every time they get a new album might sail on to more adventurous waters,
but if solid impact is what is expected out a metal blitzkrieg, then Engrave can deliver.

Since this is a re-release, the stamping of chronological distance is highly evident throughout much of the album. In other words, it sounds dated, which is not the worst thing that can happen to a sound–it’s just emblematic of the time it came out of. More correctly, this serves as a sonic bridge to more current sounds, laden as such with strains of almost blast beats, pseudo-black metal progressions.  It will be interesting to hear more recent work by Engrave; I’m curious if they will be able to continue
progressing forward with current trends, or if they will maintain their previous course.

Music aside, there is a lot of the cheesy, better left behind, craptacular (spectacularly crapy) aspects of early thrash imagery from the late ’80s used by Engrave.  On their website, there is a high school style demon with the band playing at its feet.  Comical really, but also a little embarrassing to see people putting out albums with those kinds of covers.  The professional hands of World War III are obvious on “The Rebirth Remasters”: the cover is not screamingly lame.  Nothing exemplifies this poor taste as much as the anagram of Engrave they actually put out there themselves. “E – Eagerly N – Notoriously G – Getting R – Revenge A – And V- Vengeance (it’s actually misspelled on the website) E – Everywhere”, yeech!  Okay, so this has nothing to do with the music itself, but I couldn’t resist commenting.

So maybe Engrave won’t blow your socks off with originality, but they still will hammer away at your ear drums with the musical weapon that is death metal.